SEATTLE (Legal Newsline) - Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced the filing of a petition on Monday to enforce a civil investigative demand issued to the Missouri-based O'Reilly Auto Parts.
According to a consumer complaint, O'Reilly allegedly refused to provide healthcare benefits to same-sex spouses of Washington state employees that it provides for opposite-sex spouses. O'Reilly allegedly failed to provide a complete response to a CID and refused to produce any documents related to the alleged decision not to provide benefits.
O'Reilly operates a chain of retail auto parts stores throughout the U.S. The company operates approximately 147 stores in the state of Washington and employs 2,194 Washington residents.
"In Washington, you cannot deny healthcare benefits based on sexual orientation," Ferguson said. "Under Washington law, if a business provides benefits to opposite-sex spouses, it must provide them to same-sex spouses. I will stand up for the rights of all people in our state and pursue businesses that don't play by the rules."
The Washington State Consumer Protection Act authorizes Ferguson's office to serve CIDs to any business or person to obtain information the office believes is relevant to the inquiry. Ferguson's office may file a petition to enforce the CID if the recipient does not comply.
"The attorney general's office provided O'Reilly ample time to respond to our request for information, but the company has made it clear it has no intention of fully complying with this request," Ferguson said. "It is unfortunate we need to file this petition in court to obtain the information we need."
After all requested information is received, Ferguson will review the material and consider the next course of action, including the possibility of filing a lawsuit.